Sarah Jane Pell

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

DP200102612: Designing digital aquatic play to foster Australians’ engagement with water


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

The research of Dr. Sarah Jane Pell focuses on the relationship between technological innovation, advanced life support, human factors research, and aesthetic practices in sea and space exploration domains. Pell has extended experience in the visual and performing arts developing new choreographies and expertise in developing multimedia platforms, by converging audio visual new media and traditional arts medias and commercially relevant industry regulation, equipment, technologies and science protocols. Her previous dissertation, Aquabatics as new works of Live Art, explored aqueous philosophies and issues around the human performance experience underwater through practical and theoretical examinations of the diving body producing innovative live art performance laboratories, prototype life support and pneumatic technologies, operational protocols and manuals for the practice of Aquabatics in accordance with Australian and UK ADAS/ HSE Occupational Diver Standards, various lectures, new media exhibitions and publications.

Pell is currently working on interactivity with ocean exploration technologies and aquatic play systems, and designing subspace habitat performance laboratories to test innovative countermeasures and hybridised life support architectures for potential use in outer space applications. Her interest lies in the exploration of the aesthetic possibilities, and economies, of biotelemetries; communications systems; cognitive adaptation; spatial navigation; adaptive systems; actual and virtual presences; the limits and behaviours of human performance in extreme environments; and the creative intelligence potentials of extreme environments sustaining life. This research may lead to significant new thought paradigms, strategies and technologies for future human habitation away from the earth. The intent is to contribute a distinctly human voice to further the sci-techno-medico and sporting terrains of subspace research by asking 'what are the futures we imagine, and how do we begin constructing them?' How can Australia leverage existing research strengths and capabilities to lead enriching programs for space research and space analogues on earth, and in related spaces such as VR and remote stellar outstations. Leadership in this area demands a unique perspective on the poetics, ethics, aesthetics and politics of these spatial intersections.

The significance of Pell's research lies in her ability to critique and extend the human condition through the physical and psychological limits of the body and aesthetics of care operations and life support in extreme environments with new technologies, choreographies and protocols. Furthermore, by documenting how the body adapts to perform in extreme environment habitat situations, new technologies and bio-psycho data with predictive validity for longer durational subspace habitability will result (unhindered by the challenges and limitations of remote ocean operations for example). This research contributes widely to life support system development and understanding: from health care to the defence and military, information and surveillance systems, the mechanisms of public and private institutions, and the design and technology of living systems in, and of themselves for example, and the benefit therefore filters down to deliver wellbeing and enjoyment of Australian's interaction with water.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Visual Arts, PhD, Edith Cowan University

1 Feb 20021 Mar 2005

Award Date: 1 Apr 2005

Human Movement, Masters of Arts, Victoria University

1 Feb 199630 Jun 1997

Award Date: 17 Sep 1997

Drawing, Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Melbourne

25 Feb 199330 Oct 1995

Award Date: 1 Nov 1995

External positions

Vice-Chair, ITACCUS, International Astronautical Federation

1 Oct 201828 Feb 2022

Research area keywords

  • Digital technologies
  • HCI
  • Human experience of various environments
  • Human Factors
  • Robotics
  • Aquatic Environments
  • Space and place
  • Aeronautics
  • Games Based Study
  • Play
  • Performance as Research
  • Design and Characterization of Instrumented tool
  • Design-based research
  • Interactive Media


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